Going Home After Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

Torrential rain poured onto properties and businesses and flood waters kept rising. Destructive winds battered trees, homes and shelters. It felt like the storm would never end. Losses keep piling up as people tried to evacuate from the devastation. Homes were lost, ranches were destroyed and businesses may never re-open their doors. Hurricanes are no joke, and this hurricane season of 2017 has not been so kind, with Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey as examples.

As the rain subsides, and the time comes to return to your homes and businesses, safety should be the first thing on your mind when you open those doors. Your household items may be lost, but remember – it’s just stuff. Take that into perspective as you start your recovery process. Safety for you and your loved ones should be the first thing on your mind as you return home and start to absorb the destruction that Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey may have caused.

As you start to handle the overwhelming damage, here are some helpful tips:

 

Responsibilities for every homeowner:

  • Report a claim as soon as possible under the flood or homeowners policy by contacting your agent or the company that sold the policy to you. Bankers claim number: (800-765-9700)
  • Homeowners are responsible for mitigating any additional damage to their property
  • Keep track of expenses incurred to repair or replace property, since these will be submitted as part of the insurance claim

 

Watch out for dangers.

  • If you have fuel oil or propane tanks, make sure to turn off the fuel valve on the tank
  • Only enter buildings during the day, since there will be many hazards that may not be visible at night
  • Mold can begin to form in 24-48 hours. Pregnant women, young children and people with health issues need to be very cautious
  • Heavy work or thick-soled rain boots provide greater protection against exposed nails, popped boards, mountains of debris and unexpected encounters with some wildlife

 

Take pictures of the damage.

  • Take as many pictures as you can
  • After everything is photographed, damaged property should be separated from undamaged property in order to be reviewed by your insurance carrier
  • Take a careful inventory of what was damaged. (Insurers will ask for documentation)
  • Proof of loss needs to be sent within 60 days after a loss

 

Time for the Cleanup.

  • Wet contents such as books, clothing, furniture and other items should be removed from drawers, cabinets and shelves and laid out to dry
  • Open dresser and cabinet drawers to allow air to circulate inside – it’ll help to keep drawers from sticking together
  • Don’t clean everything with bleach, you can use regular clear water to rinse off then use regular cleaning products
  • Clean-up all debris around your home

 

There’s no place like home and there’s no place like a safe and protected home. Follow these easy steps to begin your recovery process after a hurricane like Irma or Harvey comes blowing through. We understand it’s not easy or fun, but we hope these simple steps will make the process a lot smoother. Contact your Bankers agent at (800-765-9700)  today to report a claim or if you have any questions on how to recover after a hurricane. We’re here to help!

 

(BARLOW, 2017)

 

Five Things You Need to Know About Hurricanes

You hear the wind blowing across your roof, your cell phone screeches out warnings of tornados and rising water, then, all of a sudden, the power goes out. Your pets are hiding under the couch, you’re rushing around trying to find flashlights, wondering if it’s time to evacuate…

Hurricanes are scary and dangerous storms with a series of hazards that can impact your property long after the wind and rain dies down. Understanding these five hurricane-related hazards will help protect you, your family and property against these unfriendly scenarios.

STORM SURGE:

Storm surge is a rise of ocean water generated by a large storm. As ocean levels rise above regular astronomical tides, coastal flooding can extend inland, eroding beaches and roadways.

How to be prepared:

  • Make an evacuation plan
  • Monitor the weather, local advisories, watches and warnings
  • Have a plan, before you evacuate, to board up doors and windows, remove or secure all objects in yard and turn off utilities
  • Never attempt to cross flowing water when driving. A few inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

HEAVY RAINS AND FLOODING:

This is caused by rising levels in lakes, creeks, rivers and other inland bodies of water caused by widespread, torrential downpours.

How to be prepared:

  • Get to higher ground, especially get out of areas that have potential for flooding
  • Avoid areas that are already flooded; do not attempt to drive through them
  • If you need to evacuate your home, turn off utilities and unplug appliances

HIGH WINDS:

High winds are considered winds of 74+ mph and gusts of 100+ mph. Each hurricane is always categorized as a number. Category 1 has winds between 74-95mph. Category 2 is 96-110 mph. Category 3 is 111-129 mph. Category 4 is 130-156 mph. Category 5 is 157+mph.

How to be prepared:

  • Always check to make sure your home meets building code requirements for high-wind areas
  • Trim dead wood and weak branches from trees and shrubs to reduce the amount of potential wind-born debris
  • Protect windows with shutters and plywood
  • Reinforce your garage door, as it is frequently the first area of a home to fail against high winds

RIP CURRENTS:

Rip currents are strong channels of water flowing away from shore. Breaking waves spurred by a tropical storm can cause deadly rip currents to develop on coastal beaches.

How to be prepared:

  • Follow flag warnings posted at the beach
  • Stay at least 75 feet away from piers and jetties when swimming. Rip currents are often found alongside stable structures
  • If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly; never fight the current
  • Swim your way out of the current by following the direction of the shoreline and then start swimming at an angle

TORNADOES:

Tornadoes are rotating air columns caused by thunderstorms and warm, moist air that can accompany tropical storms. Tornadoes are often  spawned both away from and near the center of the hurricane

How to be prepared:

  • If you live in a mobile home, get out and move to a pre-established sturdy location
  • Move big furniture away from mirrors and heavy objects hung on walls
  • If you have time place heavy items on lower shelves to prevent them from falling onto you during the storm.
  • Seek shelter in an interior room in your house away from windows

Understanding these 5 hurricane hazards will help you better plan for hurricane season. Just because we are in the middle of it, doesn’t mean you can’t start now. Get your plan in place today! Contact a Bankers agent if you have any questions about any hurricane related hazard.